News and Announcements

u18s and players in open age football

In supporting Open Age Football with safeguarding and welfare, we have shared information below on the steps that need to be completed for the affiliation process as well as where advice and guidance can be found.  In supporting U18s, we would encourage both leagues and clubs to share the FA Know Your Rights document providing information to support U18s.  Moving forward, when clubs have identified the  Club Welfare Officer – Adult Game, there is an opportunity to support and guide U18s and players, as required.  Essex FA and the FA are actively looking so share and support leagues and clubs in this area and going forward a bespoke educational workshop will be available.

Affiliation requirements for 2023/2024 Season

  •  Clubs required to identify an individual to be listed on WGS as Welfare Officer – no qualifications required at this stage although SCW would be best practice

Things to continue with;

  • Clubs to continue to FA DBS on coaches/managers and medics – Essex FA to support.NB This is a legal requirement.
  • Adopt Safeguarding policy and procedures
  • Disseminate/have available FA “How Your Rights” to 16 & 17 year old players

We would invite you to click the button below to watch the full presentation, which runs for approximately 14 minutes:

Click here

FA Whole Game System (WGS)

'Safeguarding' Tab

Migration to Club Portal: During the recent 'Club Portal' release, the WGS 'Safeguarding' tab was finally shut down. When a user now clicks onto the tab, they'll be redirected to the new safeguarding page within the Club Portal. The FA advise Club Welfare Officers to now go direct to to view their club's safeguarding data. The new page shows more qualifications than WGS did, and is also mobile-friendly.

Safeguarding Children Course

Update to Renewal Process

There has been a change to the recertification period for The FA's Safeguarding Children Course. Since the Safeguarding Children Course was first introduced in the 2000/01 season, the recertification period has been every three years. In March 2021, the Sheldon Report into the non-recent abuse in football was published.

Whilst changes had already been made to The FA's safeguarding requirements prior to its publication, the report recommended that safeguarding education needs to be more regularly refreshed and updated so that, as legislation and practice changes, up-to-date information is at the forefront of the minds of those working directly with under 18s.  

As a result, and with immediate effect from July 2022, the recertification period for the Safeguarding Children Course will now change to being required every two years from the date of completion. For anyone who has already undertaken a safeguarding course, recertification is free.

Please note: If you completed your safeguarding recertification before the end of June 2022 under the old recertification cycle, your current qualification will remain valid for three years from the date of completion. However, when your existing certificate expires you will need to complete the new Safeguarding Children recertification, which will be valid for two years.

The FA are committed to keeping young people safe in football and they will continue to develop resources to support clubs, leagues, and coaches within their role in safeguarding. Thank you for your support and contribution to football and to keeping the game safe. Find out more by following this link. If you have any questions regarding the Safeguarding Children Course, please E-Mail


Action Required

Following communication from The FA, all County FAs are now sharing requirements and best practice of safeguarding across grassroots affiliated football which encompasses 16/17-year-olds playing in open-age football.

The communication confirms that everyone working (i.e. coaching/managing) with under 18s, whether in youth or open-age adult football, are subject to The FA’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures, underpinned by legislation. Having undertaken an audit on the FA Whole Game System, some clubs have been highlighted as having 16/17-year-old players.

Where 16- and 17-year-olds will be playing in the team, the coaching/management team require an FA DBS. If the club also have a youth section, the Club Welfare Officer may be able to assist with the DBS. If this is not possible, please contact Helen or Wayne, who will be able to offer support.

Listed below are areas which these clubs will now need to consider, with the intention to implement. We recognise this will be a change in practice for some clubs and would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to share that our Designated Safeguarding Officer Helen Hever and colleague, Wayne Hickey, are here to support and assist clubs in this process.

* DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) Checks - coaches/managers and assistants, first aiders and Club Welfare Officer
* Adopting a Safeguarding Children Policy
* Appointing a Club Welfare Officer
* Sharing “Know your Rights” with 16/17-year-old players

The links below offer information, guidance and templates:

Full Guidance, Including Downloads (e.g. Safeguarding Children Policy)
Guidance and Information for 16/17-Year-Olds Participating in Open-Age Football

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